Sunday, July 27, 2008

Welcome to Parent Leadership in Education

I'm publishing this again because there are a whole bunch on new people I've connected with and they might not want to look at the blog archives.

I'm going to start this blog in the hopes that I can have an online dialogue with others interested in supporting the educational leadership of all families, especially those that are blue-collar, poor, minority, or speak a language other than English.
My focus is public schools, equitable resources for public schools;
Excellent teachers and curriculum for all students;
Title 1 schools (where economically disadvantaged students predominate) that need support for all students to succeed academically;
Schools where students are prepared for access and success in higher education;
and parent leadership to collaborate with schools so that schools work for all children.

Public schools are the first and last venue to keep democracy alive, vibrant and to make the dreams real for all those families who expect education to provide a future for their children that is better than what they (the parents) have had.

My organization, the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) has advocated for excellent public schools for all children for over 35 years. I am the lead (point person) for parent involvement within my organization. I have been working with schools and organizations on these issues, and have written articles, recorded podcasts and continue to train, speak and advocate for parent leadership in education. I am currently on the National PTA board and also on the national board of Parents for Public Schools (PPS).

I'll be posting specific ideas, concerns and questions.


Lorna said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. I look forward to connecting with you and other educators in supporting families and children. As you have indicated this is a wonderful opportunity to build a framework of like minded individuals and organization.
I hope that you will continue to share your knowledge here and join me at as well.
All the Best!!

Jack Dieckmann said...

I am a math educator and researcher at Stanford University and I am super-interested in helping families and schools understand and use the rich mathematical practices that all students have and bring with them to school. These resoures are especially overlooked in students from non-dominant communities. I hope we can spark some conversations online about ways to include the math curriculum in the parent leadership work.


aurelio said...

Great. Welcome all. is also a good site.
And, soon-to-be Dr. Dieckmann, math and the family, yes! If a subgroup on that takes off, I'll give the links to some of the articles you (and we) wrote some years ago about that.

Carla Dallas said...

This is a great venue for this sort of dialogue!

aurelio said...

Jack, two questions:
1. What do you, as a math teacher mean by "the rich mathematical practices that all students have and bring with them to school"?
2. What would specific activities be from your paradigm to "include the math curriculum in the parent leadership work"?

Jack Dieckmann said...

To answer Aurelio's question about specific examples:

One of the core ideas in math is how things are the same in shape but different in size, but still bear resemblance. This is the property known as "similarity" which is embedded throughout math, especially geometry. Teachers spend sooooo much time teaching and re-teaching this, yet the core of the idea is seen in how all children play pretend and make miniature versions of the grown up world (and often invented worlds). That is, students already have a deep experiential basis for similarity before they even enter school: miniature cars, action figures, giant stuffed animals, etc. It is only through clumsy instuction and a systematic ignoring of students' experiences that "similarity" becomes hard, complicated and unintersting in a school setting. This is just one example of students rich mathematical practice, using the property of similarity, is ripe for the harnessing in schools.

Since deep mathematics is already embedded in children's worlds, it feels like a small leap to recognize the powerful role that all parents (regardless of their level of schooling) can have in working with schools on math curriculum. Who knows the experiences of children more than their first teachers, their parents?

This comment has gone on too long, so maybe others can chime in with their thoughts??


Bryan Person said...


I also want to welcome you to the world of blogging! I can already see you've sparked some good conversations in the comments section. Well done.

Looking forward to hearing you soon on a future episode of the Classnotes Podcast that I'll be editing ... and then visiting you one day soon in Texas, where I'll be relocating to in 2 1/2 weeks!

--Bryan Person

aurelio said...

Wwelcome to Texas, Bryan.